CISA will premiere UNMASKED in Winnipeg at the Berney Theatre on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 7:30pm. Ms. Greenfield will be our guest.
Dr. Chatterley: Why have you used the term “Judeophobia” instead of the more common “Antisemitism”? In your understanding, what is the difference?
Ms. Greenfield: Wilhelm Marr, a German who Bernard Lewis describes as “a minor Jew-baiting journalist with no other claim to memory,” brought the term “anti-Semitism” to public prominence in 1879. Today, this term is no longer adequate as it is based upon a racialist distinction between “Semitic” and “Aryan/Indo-European.”
Furthermore, the term “anti-Semitism” implies a distinction against all “Semites.” So we face the absurd situation where Jew-haters like Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan claim the identity of “Semite” in order to make the case that they themselves are victims of “anti-Semitism” as a means of deflecting the fact of their being anti-Jewish racists themselves.
While there is a growing movement in the academy to utilize “Antisemitism” as a replacement for the problematic “anti-Semitism,” “Judeophobia” is a more suitable term to convey the intellectualized and ideological hatred of Jews that is encompassed in the anti-Jewish phenomenon flourishing in many parts of the world today.
Dr. Chatterley: What kind of reactions to the film have you received thus far? Have you received any serious criticisms or stirred any controversy?
“Just wanted to say that not only is the film excellent on first viewing, but lingers and deepens in memory. It's brilliant and fantastic.” (Professor Richard Landes, Boston University)
“Congrats once again -- you do amazing work and are making a huge difference, in an otherwise bleak landscape.” (Professor Gerald Steinberg, Bar Ilan University)
“It is a terrific film . . . especially good for those who still refuse to see reality.” (Judy Lavin, Chicago)
“The film truly was a very chilling reminder of the enormous challenges that face us as a global Jewish collective and should be compulsory viewing for any Jew who feels connected to Klal Yisrael.” (David Jacobson, Executive Director, Jewish Board of Deputies of the Western Cape, South Africa)
“I hope the new audiences are as informed and moved as we were. The film was wonderful.” (Adrienne Fleischmann, Boston)
“It's an amazing piece. One of those few documentaries that would be great for everyone to see. It's clear how much love -- and passion -- went into the making of this. Great interviews of interesting subjects, easy to follow graphics, beautifully shot, and telling a coherent and powerful story. What more can you want from a documentary?” (Alan Blaustein, Los Angeles)
Dr. Chatterley: Do you worry that the film will create anxiety in the Jewish community? Have you been accused of fear mongering?
Ms. Greenfield: During the process of making the film, my primary concern was for the message to be clear and impactful. Knowledge of the current situation would naturally create some level of anxiety—how could state-sanctioned calls for the destruction of the Jewish state and public calls for killing Jews wherever one finds them—not create some level of anxiety.
However, my primary concern was not about anxiety, but rather about making the film clear and impactful enough so that all decent people—Jews as well as non-Jews—would muster the determination and commitment to both recognize the reality of the situation and to find ways to quash it.
From my perspective, the situation that should create the greatest amount of anxiety and fear is denial and apathy. To appreciate the outcome of such denial and apathy, one only has to look back at the 1930s and 1940s.
Dr. Chatterley: When and why did you decide to make this film? Was there a particular happening or experience that precipitated your decision?
Ms. Greenfield: In May of 2009, Irwin Cotler and I were at the Philadelphia premiere of Doc Emet Productions’ first documentary film, The Case for Israel: Democracy’s Outpost, when Irwin leaned over and whispered to me that the next film should be about antisemitism. I spent some time processing that suggestion.
Several months later, I viewed a very offensive documentary that was screened at film festivals around the world, which presented antisemitism as the invention of Jewish leaders, organizations, and the Jewish state to raise money and fear. I then realized how important it was to move forward on UNMASKED as quickly as possible.
Dr. Chatterley: In your estimation, to what degree is Jew-hatred now motivating the conflict between Israel and its neighbors?
Ms. Greenfield: The Arab-Israeli conflict is caused by the refusal of Israel’s neighbors to recognize Israel’s right to exist and to thrive as a Jewish state. Israel’s hostile neighbors stimulate and leverage the resurgence of Jew-hatred that exists in the world in order to get passes rather than world condemnation for their state-sanctioned calls for destroying the Jewish state and for their incitement to kill Jews inside and outside of Israel.
Dr. Chatterley: Why do you think so many people who claim to be dedicated to the peace process are ignoring this serious problem?
Ms. Greenfield: How can you achieve peace with parties who 1) refuse to recognize your right to exist; 2) refuse to remove clauses in their charters calling for your destruction; and, 3) continue to incite hatred of Jews in their children through textbooks, children’s television programming, and cultural events? How can any rational person imagine that peace or reconciliation is possible in that environment?
It seems to me that any world leader, outside the region, calling for a peace process without demanding resolution of at least these three issues is only using the conflict for his or her own political agenda.
Dr. Chatterley: Has your past life as a feminist activist empowered you or influenced you at all in this work?
Ms. Greenfield: My experience in the radical-feminist movement, from 1969 through 1983, taught me a lot about the insidious Jew-hatred on the Left. Today, this hatred is directed against the Jewish state and against Jews who stand up proudly for their identity and for the Jewish homeland, as opposed to those who may use their Jewish identity as credentials for defaming Judaism, Jews, and Israel. I would say that my past life as a feminist activist helped me shed a great deal of naïveté.
Dr. Chatterley: Do you believe that the American public supports Israel to the extent that so many people assume? If you remove government support and the evangelical minority, what then can be said about American public opinion with regard to Israel? What do you think the future holds for the American relationship with Israel?
Ms. Greenfield: I firmly believe that the majority of American citizens who hold pride in what the United States stands for are solidly supportive of the American-Israeli relationship. As long as we have an administration that is proud of what America stands for, and cherishes Judeo-Christian values, this support will hold strong.
Dr. Chatterley: Are Jewish communities, and their organizations, prepared for this current assault? What can they do to address this problem?
Ms. Greenfield: Generally speaking, unfortunately not. Jewish communities in Europe and Latin America may be somewhat ahead of North American Jewish communities in their preparedness, since the manifestations of Judeophobia in their countries seem to be more extreme. We have a lot of work to do.
I think the first critical step is recognizing what is happening and naming the threat. The next steps will require the relentless commitment and dedication that was demonstrated in the Soviet Jewry movement.
Dr. Chatterley: What will your next film project be?
Ms. Greenfield: The focus of my next documentary film project will be on the values-driven leadership of Menachem Begin and Ze’ev Jabotinsky.
Dr. Chatterley: How can people purchase copies of your films?
Ms. Greenfield: In the next several weeks, the UNMASKED website www.unmaskedthemovie.com will be launched and people will be able to order the film online.Until then, Canadians can order the film by check (made payable to Doc Emet Productions for $14.95 + $6.00 shipping/handling) from Doc Emet Productions, P.O. Box 339, Lexington, MA 02420 or by credit card by calling 617-694-4257.
THE CASE FOR ISRAEL: DEMOCRACY’S OUTPOST can be ordered online at www.thecaseforisrael.com or by calling 617-694-4257.